Horticulture Programs

The MSU Extension Consumer Horticulture team provides Michigan residents with researched-based information to properly manage their home environment (lawns, gardens, landscapes and ornamentals). The Leelanau County MSU Extension office assists county residents with utilizing Extension resources to better diagnose plant diseases, insect & weed identification, fertilizer recommendations, pest problems, landscape questions, seeding & lawn maintenance, and more! Read on to find out about all of the resources available.

Plant & Pest Diagnostic Clinic - Every Wednesday in the Summer

The Diagnostic Clinic runs every Wednesday from 10am - 2pm during the growing season, and held at the Leelanau MSU Extension office.  (in the Leelanau County Government Center, 8527 E Government Center Drive, Suite 107, Suttons Bay, MI  49682.)  Leelanau County residents can bring their bugs, weeds and plant diseases for identification and recommendations.  The Diagnostic Clinic is staffed by Extension Master Gardener Volunteers and Consumer Horticulture Educator, Nate Walton.  Samples can be brought to the MSUE office outside of clinic hours as well, but you would be able to speak with someone if you come during clinic hours.  Other resources for diagnosing problems is the MSU Extension Lawn & Garden Hotline at 1-888-678-3464 or MiGarden.  For more information, contact the Leelanau MSU Extension office at 231-256-9888 or waltonn2@msu.edu.

Pollinator Citizen Science Project

You can learn about pollinators and help researchers learn more about them by participating in this citizen science project. To participate, all you have to do is count pollinators for 3 minutes at one of the flower planters that is located on E Front St. between Park and Union in downtown Traverse City. Each planter has a sign in it with a QR code. Scan the QR code with your phone for instructions on how to participate. You can also watch these two short videos to learn more about the project and to learn how to identify some of the pollinators you'll see on the flowers. 

Simple Vegetable Garden Plans

These plans can be used by both beginners and experienced gardeners. The plants suggested have been specially selected to not only feed your family, but also can be donated to food pantries to fill the need for “staples” - fresh vegetables most likely to be used and that can store better if they are not used right away. 

Short Helpful Vegetable Gardening Videos: Gardening for Beginners (MSU Mediaspace)


Toll-free Lawn & Garden Hotline (888-MSUE4MI)

Contact MSU Extension's state-wide hotline for any of your gardening-related question by dialing 1-888-678-3464 (1-888-MSUE-4MI).

Take a Soil Sample and Have the Results Interpreted

The first step to growing and maintaining a healthy lawn and garden is getting to know your soil! Soil Test Kit Mailers are available at the MSU Extension office and cost $26 (this includes postage).   Or you can purchase a soil test online to be shipped to your home at shop.msu.edu.  Each kit contains instructions on how to gather samples. You will receive a 6-character code via email to be able to interpret your soil test results  and find specific recommendations based off the crops types of your interest.

Gardening in Michigan

MiGarden is full of resources to get you growing this season. Topics covered include Vegetables, Fruit, Flowers, Trees/Shrubs, Lawns/Grass, Soil, Water, Plant Problems and Preservation.

Smart Gardening Initiative

Become a Smart Gardener by creating Smart Soils, Smart Plants, and Smart Lawns. Stop by our office for hard copies of twenty different tip sheets to help you save time and money while protecting the environment this season.

Foundations of Gardening 

Foundations of Gardening is a comprehensive 10-week online MSU Extension course that explores many aspects of gardening. Lessons include self-paced learning opportunities and live lectures from experts in the field.  The course may be offered in the spring and fall.  *This is not a Michigan State University Extension Master Gardener® training. Foundations of Gardening is open to everyone. It does not require a participant to later pursue the additional steps for becoming an MSU Extension Master Gardener volunteer unless desired. Please read the “Is this course right for me?” section for more information.  

Become a MSU Extension certified Master Gardener

Help people and communities grow! Lend a hand to the MSU Extension Consumer Horticulture team's effort to get the word out about research-based, environmentally sound gardening practices. Interested individuals get the chance to take a focus, 13-week training course and engage in a community-outreach, horticulture-related volunteer project. To find out about the next local training class see our Leelanau County Master Gardener page or visit the state-wide Master Gardener Program for more information.